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TUESDAY, MAY 15, 2007
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Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales Announces New Efforts to Combat Violent Crime

New Initiatives Focus Resources on Federal, State and Local Partnerships

WASHINGTON – Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales today unveiled new Department of Justice efforts to assist federal, state and local law enforcement in combating violent crime. Part of the Department’s Initiative for Safer Communities, today’s announcement calls for more prosecutors, new training, additional funds, enhanced prevention efforts and a crack down against America’s most violent offenders.

“It is hard to hope, and it is hard to pursue your dreams, if you live in fear and grow up in a neighborhood that is weighed down by gangs and violent crime,” said Attorney General Gonzales. “Since each community faces unique challenges when it comes to violent crime, partnerships among local law enforcement and community groups that tailor answers to that community are critical. The federal government can, however, offer some unique assistance. Today, I am calling for a refocus and an increase in intensity of violent-crime-fighting efforts at the federal level.”

While overall crime rates are historically low in America, certain types of violent crime increased in 2005 in some cities across the nation. In fall 2006, Attorney General Gonzales launched the Initiative for Safer Communities to investigate these recent increases and devise solutions to help communities struggling with violent crime. Department of Justice officials visited 18 metropolitan areas. Many of the jurisdictions visited by Department officials experienced increases in homicide or robbery rates in recent years, while others experienced decreases. Although many of these problems can only be solved through the attention of state legislatures, city councils, state and local law enforcement agencies and the leadership of local officials, the Department of Justice has an important role to play in helping state and local governments fight crime in their communities.

The Department’s new efforts to combat violent crime build upon this formula for success, strengthening partnerships among federal, state and local law enforcement, as well as community leaders, while targeting the “worst of the worst” offenders across the nation. These new initiatives will complement the Department’s existing efforts, such as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) Violent Crime Impact Teams, FBI’s Safe Streets task forces and National Gang Intelligence Center, the U.S. Marshals Service’s (USMS) Regional Fugitive Task Forces and district fugitive task forces, the Criminal Division-led national Gang Targeting, Enforcement & Coordination Center (GangTECC), Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), and the anti-gang strategies that are already in place in each judicial district across the country.

The following new initiatives focus on the three primary areas: expanding current federal law enforcement efforts that target gang violence and criminal misuse of firearms; providing assistance to state and local law enforcement who are the primary responders for violent crime; and working with Congress to strengthen laws and increase penalties for violent crime offenders.


Federal agents and prosecutors have a strong track record of identifying offenders whose crimes are appropriate for federal prosecution, and successfully targeting, apprehending and bringing these individuals to justice. U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and Department law enforcement agencies throughout the country have effectively leveraged the assets of the federal system by concentrating their violent crime investigative and prosecutorial efforts on the most serious violent offenders in their jurisdictions, and today’s announcements reinforce that strategy and provide resources to support it.


The brave men and women of state and local law enforcement are the primary responders to violent crime in their communities. Building on the expertise of state and local law enforcement, today’s announcement will also provide additional funding, assistance and training to law enforcement officers and other local partners across the nation.


In addition to our increased law enforcement efforts and assistance to state and locals, the Department of Justice is committed to working closely with Congress to strengthen our laws and provide the necessary assistance to law enforcement around the nation who are on the front lines in the fight against violent crime.